Living out a dream
Diamonds as big as the Ritz sparkling to brighten the lives of those in need
Photos by Nadya Torina and Helen Borodina
The 3rd MPC Social Services Harvest Ball took place on 12 November in Moscow’s Ritz Carlton Hotel, raising over $60,000
MPC Social Services is probably the oldest charity organization in Moscow of its kind, making a positive difference in the lives of thousands of poverty-stricken, abused and otherwise helpless individuals since 1991.
It is also a charity organization of refined taste, holding an annual fund-raising event known as the Harvest Ball, with all the money raised making it possible to live out the dream the Rev Matthew Laferty, Chaplain of Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy and Director of MPC Social Services, the employees and volunteers here in Moscow, and all charity activists around the world share, the dream of changing this world, of making it a better place. Bringing about a change requires action, taking steps.
“The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service” - Henry W Longfellow
Today, the steps lead up the staircase of Moscow’s Ritz Carlton hotel. A champagne reception precedes an exquisite dinner in the second floor ballroom. The Rev Laferty greets the guests, opening with a beautifully worded, sincere prayer that gives the event a touch of solemnity, reminding everyone that the fun they came here to have will enable so many miracles to happen in the lives of thousands in need of help.
As the dishes are being served, wine poured into glasses and the buzz of cheerful small talk fills the ballroom, it becomes obvious that everyone is having a great time.
The guests bid on the silent auction items exhibited in the lobby, while assistants are selling the secret raffle envelopes.
Then the Gala’s MC, David Greene, of the National Public Radio invites Kent McNeley to conduct the live auction. The items auctioned are paintings and posters donated by art galleries and individual artists. A definite highlight is a backstage tour of the Bolshoi Theatre, that comes together with autographed ballet shoes and pictures of Bolshoi’s rising star, Joy Womack, and some other marvellous dancers, donated by Youth Art in Action, presented by a trio of the Ballet Academy students, Julian MacKay, Nicholas MacKay and Natalie Carter.
“Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity; when I give, I give myself” - Walt Whitman
As the auction closes and the dancing begins in the Ritz Carlton ballroom, I return to the lobby to ponder the human existence and the many opportunities we have to make a difference in the lives of others.
Ever read The Diamond as Big as the Ritz by F.S. Fitzgerald, a fantasy story about a man who was living in a marvelous chateau on top of a mountain of solid diamond, in constant fear of losing that useless treasure? We each have those “diamonds” in our lives, and as we give them away piece by piece, they only shine brighter, and the light reflects back on us.